Tag Archives: Democratic

Gettin’ a little crazy out there…

Vice President Joe Biden L'68

* except this smiling man. He always seems to have something witty on the edge of his tongue. Image via Wikipedia

No default. But no matter. It’s still not enough to make anyone happy.*

In fact, just to read the headlines, I can’t help but think that it’s getting a little crazy out there.

Check out a sampling of them from this screen shot of Real Clear Politics this afternoon:

Among other things, here’ s a few things that one might glean from the headlines:

Also, if this wasn’t painfully obvious to anyone not in the employ of the federal government: we’re in a bear economy, right now, and the light at the end of the tunnel might be a train. Or a bear.  If bears reflected light. And looked like this. 
In short, what I see in just the headlines is that everyone is obnoxious and no one is happy with the way things are going. Even the Chinese are getting in on the action. (Because, hey–they own a substantial part of the debt we almost defaulted on).

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Utah is becoming even more Republican…if that’s even possible.

Last night, or early this morning, I engaged in some hyperbolic jousting over Twitter with the inestimable Deb Henry, a candidate for Vice Chair of the Utah Democratic Party.

Amidst the trash talk, Deb reminded the world why she is running for Vice Chair of the Utah Democratic Party (yes, our state has one).

As I read her comment, I couldn’t help but wonder: can Utah really elect any more Democrats than they already do? In that vein of thought, wouldn’t it make more sense that to win you would need to increasingly be a Republican in this state? You know: if you can’t beat’m, join’m. Continue reading

Why did the GOP lose NY-26? Not the reason you think.

The winning Democrat only won with 47%, just one point less than Barack Obama got in the district in 2008. Not exactly an awe-inspiring performance.

Democrats won only because a third-party candidate—self-proclaimed tea partier Jack Davis—spent a reported $3 million of his own money. Absent Mr. Davis as a spoiler—he got 9% of the vote—Democrats would never have made a serious bid for this district, nor won if they did. Ironically, Mr. Davis ran for the same seat in the last three elections as a Democrat. This year he ran as a populist conservative.

via Rove: Why the Republican Lost in NY-26 – WSJ.com.

But you won’t hear that from the folks on the left. A third party candidate, coupled with a Medicare scare campaign, won the race for the Democrats.

This is not to say that a GOP budget that reforms Medicare is a liability–on the contrary, it will be an asset, if Republicans can learn to talk about it right. If they can communicate that their budget is fair, keeps Medicare viable, and brings federal spending down (and that no one will be hurt or thrown off a cliff), voters will respond favorably.

Voters want to hear about Medicare reform. They understand the serious threat that the current spending trends present for our country. But Republicans have got to learn to communicate and counter Democrats distortions. Otherwise, it won’t matter how good the plan to reform unfunded liabilities is–Democrats will win elections based on the threat of negative change.

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Is the recession over, or are there more bubbles?

Deficit and debt increases 2001-2008
Image via Wikipedia

I’m reading “Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown” by Wiedemer, Wiedemer, and Spitzer. They claim to have seen the current recession coming before it happened, the result of the popping of various bubbles in our economy, including in the housing and credit markets. Interestingly, and perhaps most frightening, the authors believe that things will get worse, yet. You see, while national leaders are talking about the recession like it’s the result of a down cycle in the market, just another downturn following the growth of the last few years, the growth they are promising cannot come about without either a new bubble–which must eventually pop–or dramatic increases in productivity. It’s a scary proposition they are prophesying, and while they believe there are ways to survive and even make money in it, the sheer size of the next bubble is terrifying.

As bad as the financial judgment of the private sector bankers and investment bankers is, even worse is the incredible irresponsibility and bad judgment of the public sector–the U.S. government. They have been involved in the biggest bad loan of them all: the monstrous government debt bubble. We can’t possibly pay it off. Our tax base in a good year is only $2.5 trillion. In a bad year, it’s less. The total government debt bubble will soon be over $11 trillion and rising rapidly to $15 trillion. Even if we directed 100 percent of our taxes to paying it off, it would take at least six years, assuming interest rates stay at their current incredibly low level. What if interest rates rose to 10 or 15 percent? We would have a hard time just paying the interest!

From “Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown,” p. 57.

I find it noteworthy that the authors, while damning political leaders for their irresponsibility in debt creation, do not pull punches for either of the two major parties. Both are at fault. As a good friend of mine likes to observe, both conservatives and liberals have done a good job of spending in recent years–they just spend for different things.

Maybe Economics 101 should be required for freshman Congressmen and Senators in addition to the other orientations for a newly elected politician takes office in the Capitol.  The basics of supply and demand, to say nothing of budgeting and spending, could be considered as important as ideological purity, if not more so.

The interior of the United States Capitol rotu...
Image via Wikipedia

Why Colorado Matters, No Matter Your Party

The Blueprint: How the Democrats Won Colorado (and Why Republicans Everywhere Should Care)The Blueprint: How the Democrats Won Colorado by Rob Witwer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you walk away with nothing from this book, and from this review, it should be this: by using data, organization, and money, there are political operatives out there manipulating how voters think about their candidates, and not necessarily with accurate information. Not that that is a surprise, at least to some of you, but…

Without a doubt, the book is what it purports to be: a blueprint for the Democratic strategy to successfully turn Republican leaning states, districts and offices over to Democrats. And it’s already worked. Democrats, in what was in 2002 one of the reddest states of country, now control the state House and Senate, both US Senate seats, the Governors mansion, and five of the seven Congressional seats. Further, as the authors, Adam Schrager and Rob Witwer, argue, it’s a plan that is being exported to other states, and even being used nationally, to take down Republicans everywhere.

So what’s the secret? How do Democrats turn a conservative state into a left leaning Democratic stronghold? Tom Tancredo, former Republican Congressman, summed it up nicely:

“It doesn’t matter if you are running for the state legislature or the president of the United States. Brilliant organization, unlimited resources, and the effective use of technology all in the hands of bright people who are driven more than just simple ideology create the most formidable campaign strategy imaginable.”

And that’s exactly what happened. Conceived as a project by several millionaires–and not just your garden variety millionaires, but including dot-com millionaires with a penchant for data manipulation and a surplus of cash–the Colorado story is that of a small cadre of intelligent individuals bypassing the traditional political parties to orchestrate an ambush on Republican office holders that flipped Colorado to the Democrats. Using huge influxes of cash channeled through shadowy 527 non-profits, Democrats used data collection methods to target vulnerable and marginally successful Republicans with vicious mailers and only marginally true television advertising. Republicans never saw it coming, and it wasn’t until almost six years later that they started to pick up the game. Using a method of directing donations to candidates and non-profits categorized as 527s under the IRS tax code, Democrats were able to hide the actual amount of money being spent to attack Republicans, pool from wealthy donors nationwide, and target only a few swing votes to turn elections in several states.

It’s a brilliantly executed strategy, and one I am sure that every politico wishes he had conceived. The tools are available to anyone who will organize them and that is willing to raise and find the money.

As for a read, the book moves fast and feels like an extended magazine piece, full of quotes and interesting anecdotes. However, it’s probably better designed for a political wonk than for the average reader.

As I stated at the outset, the scary aspect of the book is the ability of these operatives, infusing enormous amounts of money, deft and witty campaign messaging (read: attack ads and mailers that smear candidates), and highly organized grassroots management, can, and are, winning elections, and not necessarily on the merits of their candidates.

Fascinating read. Pick it up. Or borrow it from me.

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